The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) has awarded a contract to Nova Bus to build Milwaukee County’s first battery-electric buses.
Nova Bus will produce up to 15 all-electric LFSe+ buses for MCTS. The first 11 vehicles will run exclusively on the upcoming East-West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line; four additional vehicles will be used along regular routes.
“Alternative-fuel buses represent the future of public transportation,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “We’re excited to transition towards greener, more sustainable, and more efficient transit for our community. Innovative technologies like this help in our mission to advance racial equity and enhance the quality of life through great public service.”
Passengers who board these buses will enjoy a quiet ride, comfortable seating, USB charging ports, off-board fare collection, and a bike rack. Additionally, the new clean-air vehicles have several features that strengthen accessibility and improve the experience of riders with disabilities:
- Riders who use mobility devices (or any rider, regardless of their ability) can enter the bus through the front or back door thanks to wider aisles and level boarding via new BRT platforms.
- Each bus is equipped with a QUANTUM Self-Securement system, allowing passengers who use mobility devices to secure themselves independently, in addition to traditional driver-operated securement equipment.
- Because battery-electric buses are nearly silent when operating at low speeds, exterior and interior chimes will sound when the vehicle slows to under three miles per hour to ensure that passengers who are blind or low vision know the bus is approaching a stop.
Built on Nova Bus’s LFS platform and a traction motor and next generation powertrain from BAE Systems, the battery-electric buses can operate up to 247 miles on a single charge. To help ensure optimum performance during winter months, diesel-powered heaters will keep the passenger compartment at appropriate temperatures. Batteries will be recharged at MCTS’s maintenance garages and at a designated charging station along the BRT route.
This is Nova Bus’s first order of LFSe+ vehicles in the U.S. Several key components of the buses will be built and assembled locally at businesses in Pleasant Prairie, Racine, Greendale, Pewaukee, Elkhart Lake, and Manitowoc.
The nine-mile East-West BRT, which is a first-of-its-kind undertaking in the Badger State, will allow MCTS to better connect major employment, education, and recreation destinations through downtown Milwaukee and surrounding areas. Construction for the project is slated to begin in spring of 2021, with revenue service starting as early as fall of 2022. The electric buses are expected to arrive in Milwaukee in summer of 2022.
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